The Chicago Tribune reports on true conservative churches — in other words, churches that reject trees, Santa, carols, consumer merchandise swapping, and other unbiblical icons of the ancient seasonal holiday currently known as Christmas.

I respect these churches’ efforts to remain focused on the true faith, free from material and spiritual distractions.

At Focus on the Family, however, moral relativists dismiss the Bible. They rationalize that it’s OK to borrow non-Christian idols and associate them with Christ’s symbolic day of birth because all these particular idolatries didn’t exist when the Bible was written:

Alex McFarland, director of Youth Apologetics for Focus on the Family, an evangelical broadcast ministry headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., said he is mindful of a Christian’s right to follow his or her faith as they feel guided.

But he said some objections to customs were misplaced. Opposition to Christmas trees, for example, is based on a misreading of the Bible’s book of Jeremiah, 10:2-4, he said. The King James Version reads: “Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen…. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold…. “

“Jeremiah was writing several hundred years before the birth of Christ. It could not have referred to a Christmas tree,” McFarland said.

Hmmm…. Something’s OK simply because it didn’t exist in Biblical times? Because the writers couldn’t have known what they were talking about? That’s hardly the position of an inerrantist. It sounds like some liberal relativists’ rationalization for a gay-affirmative Bible.

Focus admits that the “holiday season” predates Christianity and then rationalizes away a Biblical absolute.

What could be next? Focus admitting that evolution trumps the Bible’s various creation stories? Or would that new moral absolute prove too unpopular to Focus’ fund-raising department?

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